**Special Report**

More than a thousand people have been killed in northeast Nigeria since January and at least 3m have been affected by the Islamist insurgency raging in the area, according to the country’s emergency relief agency.

The upsurge in violence has displaced a quarter of a million in the states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, the Nigerian Emergency Management Agency said. It added that one in five have been forced from their homes by the conflict.

NEMA’s grim assessment is one of the first official accounts this year of the impact of intensifying violence on millions of inhabitants of the impoverished, predominately Muslim northeast of Nigeria, Africa’s leading oil producer.

Boko Haram, an al-Qaeda affiliated Islamist group, has been fighting since 2009 to impose an Islamic state on Nigeria’s multi-ethnic and religiously-divided federation. In the past the sect has claimed responsibility for suicide bombings and attacks as far afield as the capital, Abuja, amid concern in the region and among western officials that it has linked up with other al-Qaeda affiliated groups operating south of the Sahara.

Source – Financial Times, by William Wallis, March 2014

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